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Bodegas Ondarre, Ondarre Reserva, Rioja 2014 (1x75cl)

Bodegas Ondarre, is based in Viana, a historic town six kilometres from Logroño, Rioja's capital. Founded in 1986 it has quickly become one of the standout producers in the region with its elegant and distinguishable style. Their most acclaimed wines are their Reservas, which win top awards and critical approval every year. They attribute their success to the hard work in the vineyards and their continual investment into the winery and barrel stock. They use both French and American oak casks to help them obtain the incredible character in their wines. As well as their Reservas, they produce a few thousand cases of a single varietal Graciano; this is a real rarity due to the low-yielding nature of the vine.

A cold winter with high rainfall, followed by further rains in April and May created good soil water reserves. Weather patterns were mixed over the summer, with some rain, sunny days and overcast days, but véraison occurred on time and the growth cycle of the vines continued at a steady pace. September saw warm, sunny weather which encouraged the ripening of the berries. The grapes were exceptionally healthy and of very good quality at harvest.

The grapes are grown in vineyards covering 1,200 hectares around the winery, at the point confluence of La Rioja, Alava and Navarra. The area offers an optimum climate and terroir. The vines are grown in clay-based soils with high iron and chalk content.

Each grape variety was fermented separately in temperature controlled vats at 28 to 30°C, which lasted for between 16 to 18 days. The wine was blended and then aged for 16 months in American and French oak, Bordeaux-type casks imparting subtle oak complexity. During the maturation the wine was racked four times, in order to gently extract phenolic compounds by oxygenating the wine. This produced a softer wine which exhibits great varietal fruit character.

Tempranillo 75%, Mazuelo 15%, Garnacha 10%.

Leather, vanilla and spice of traditionally made Rioja enveloped in a smooth and textured palate. Balanced, with ripe, wild strawberries and integrated tannins through to a long, lingering finish.

£9.95

Caruso & Minini - Terre di Giumara - Frappato / Nerello Mascalese IGT 2016 (1x 75cl)

Caruso & Minini are a part of new revival in Sicilian wine. Smaller wineries have sprung up in the past decade with private investment and a strong interest in the potential of the native grapes from Sicily. One example is Caruso & Minini. When Mario Manini met Stefano Caruso it sparked a long-held dream to produce a wine in the historical winemaking region of Marsala in Western Sicily. The Terre di Giumara range focuses on these unique and delicious Sicilian grapes. 

This wine is a blend of Frappato and Nerello Mascalese (the makers do not specify the relative proportions, but it would surprise us if this were not ~50/50).

To see an information and tasting sheet for this wine that has been prepared by the team at Caruso & Minini, please click on the blue link below.

Caruso & Minini Terre di Giumara Frappato Nerello Mascalese - fiche technique

£8.90

Caruso & Minini Sachia Perricone IGT Sicilia 2015 (1x75cl)

Caruso & Minini are a part of new revival in Sicilian wine. Small wineries have sprung up in the past decade with private investment and a strong interest in the potential of the native grapes from Sicily. One example is Caruso & Minini. When Mario Manini met Stefano Caruso. it sparked a long-held dream to produce a wine in the historical winemaking region of Marsala in Western Sicily.

For decades the Perricone (or the so-called pignatello) had been the undisputed leader of the red grapes in western Sicily. A careful vinification has transformed the prickly character into a incomparable personality: a one of a kind wine. Rich with red fruits, mixed with notes of liquorice, a typical expression of the relationship between the variety and its land. Wine of great power and harmony while expressing, at the same time, a fresh and lively character.

This wine is a great match for  charcuterie and other salty antipasti, aubergine dishes, veggie pies and cheeses.

£9.80

Cellier des Dauphins Reserve Cotes du Rhone 2018 (1x75cl)

** ONLY AVAILABLE FROM EXEL WINES! NOTE THAT THE DAUPHINS COTES DU RHONE CURRENTLY BEING BADGED BY TESCO AND ASDA AS THE 'RESERVE' ON THEIR WEBSITES IS CATEGORICALLY *NOT* THIS WINE/THE DWWA AWARD WINNER (this, we have confirmed with the producer). INDEED, YOU WILL NOTE THAT THE WORD 'RESERVE' DOES NOT APPEAR ON THEIR LABEL... **

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Cellier des Dauphins was established in 1967 by the Union des Vignerons des Côtes du Rhône. Rather than being a producer in its own right, it encompasses a major co-operative network of grape-growers and winemakers throughout the southern Rhône valley. The Cellier des Dauphins vineyards lie in the Rhône Valley, the foothills of the southern Alps rising in the distance. In these terroirs, sun-drenched vines swaying in the southern breeze, grow the renowned grape varieties that have made the Côtes du Rhône famous: Syrah, Grenache, Viognier and many other regional grapes.

The network comprises over 2,500 families and 12,500 hectares of production land across 20 of the main Southern Rhône appellations, among them Plan de Dieu, Puyméras and Valréas. Exceptional terroirs produce the most illustrious crus: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, Vinsobres and Cairanne.

Such diversity of both grape varieties and terroirs enables the Cellier's winemakers to produce aromatic blended wines of great complexity, of which this Côtes du Rhône rouge is a standout example.

For greater detail on this wine, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Cellier des Dauphins.

Cellier Des Dauphins Reserve Côtes du Rhône 2018 - fiche technique

80% Grenache, 20% Syrah.

This wine displays a deep red hue with ruby tints and notes of sun-ripened black fruit on the nose. The palate offers a velvety texture and spicy notes underpinned by ripe black fruit, blackcurrants and black cherries. A more modern take on the traditional Côtes du Rhône style, this wine combines structure, freshness and smooth tannins. It has a seductively elegant, intense and long-lingering finish.

or, as the DWWA19 panel put it:

"This is delicious! Very classy and appealing aromas of flowers, garrigue, spice and forest floor. On the palate sweet vanilla oak marries into the charming and svelte herbal, red and blue fruit mix. It's full of flavour, super supple, super drinkable and authentic. Bouquet, taste, finish: all are magnificent!".

ABV = 13.5%.

£9.95

Chateau Los Boldos Tradition Reserve Carmenere 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 84 points and Commended status by Decanter in their April 2019 Panel Tasting on Chilean Carmenère. 

Château Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, the focus from the onset has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since it was purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.

Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate. The clear, bright skies during the summer and the diurnal temperature range are ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity while ripening to perfection. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields. Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, thereby controlling everything from grape to bottle.

Much-needed rain in winter replenished water levels in the vineyard. This was followed by a dry period, which prompted slow ripening, allowing for good flavour accumulation and the dry conditions ensured there was little disease pressure. 2018 was a good vintage across most of Chile for both quality and quantity.

The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks for eight days at temperatures between 25-28°C before undergoing malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged for six months in French oak barrels to soften tannins and add complexity.

100% Carmenère.

This wine is deep ruby red in colour. On the nose, there are aromas of ripe red and black fruits with notes of black pepper and chocolate. It has a rounded texture with powerful tannins and a long, lingering finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£9.55

Finca Valero Tempranillo Garnacha 2018 (1x75cl)

At Bodegas San Valero, tradition and innovation go hand in hand in the production of a wide range of wines that are consistantly enjoyable.  Constant innovation, respect for tradition and oenological excellence are the three guiding priciples under which their wines are made. They produce a wide range of red, white, rosé and sparkling wines using their 70 years of tradition and knowledge in winemaking as well as utilising the most up to date production control techniques.

Made from Tempranillo and Garnacha, this easy-going red boasts dark berry fruits with a hint of pepper on the finish.

ABV = 13.0%.

£6.75

Goats Do Roam Red 2017 (1x75cl)

Charles Back, the owner of Fairview, is also the man behind Goats do Roam, which was launched in 1999. Goats do Roam is rare in that it is an amusing and original proposition allied to wines of good quality and value for money. Normally, these 'concept' wines put more money into marketing than into quality but, characteristically, Charles has done the opposite. The fruit for Goats is sourced primarily from Paarl, Malmesbury and Paardeberg. The 'legend' goes that some errant members of Fairview's long established goat herd, supplier of milk for Fairview's internationally award-winning cheeses, escaped one afternoon from their paddock into the Fairview vineyards when Charles Back's young son Jason accidentally left the paddock gate open. The little group happily roamed among the vineyards, showing rare discernment by selecting some of the ripest berries from some of the choicest vines. Their selection serves as the inspiration for the blends of these wines.

This 100% Fairtrade multi-varietal blend comes from vineyards across South Africa's Western Cape. The Shiraz is soucred from trellised vineyards in the Paarl, Stellenbosch and Swartland regions, the Grenache from Piekenierskloof, Paarl and Swartland, the Carignan and Mourvèdre primarily from dryland bushvines in the Swartland and the Petite Sirah from the decomposed granite soils of Paarl.

April and May were very hot and dry with winter arriving late in most regions but was sufficiently cold to break dormancy although rainfall was still below average. Warmer weather in August contributed to an early, even budburst, October and November were characterised by cool nights and warm days, which were perfect for flowering and berry set. The growing season and especially harvest time will be remembered for cooler nights and warmer, drier days and resulted in healthy vineyards.

Each variety was processed and fermented separately. The majority of grapes were destalked and lightly crushed into stainless steel tanks with a portion of the Grenache, Shiraz and Cinsault grapes remaining as whole bunches with partial carbonic maceration taking place. The must was inoculated with Rhône yeasts and pump-overs were done up to four times a day during fermentation. After alcoholic fermentation, the wines were racked to tanks and barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wine was then matured in both tanks and barrels prior to blending, stabilization and bottling.

This wine is a blend of 58% Syrah/Shiraz, 21% Grenache/Garnacha, 15% Mourvèdre, 4% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignano/Carignan.

Bright ruby in colour, this wine shows blackcurrant, plum and spice on the nose. Medium bodied with firm tannins, the youthful palate has generous berry fruit and hints of vanilla spice from the oak.

ABV = 14.0%.

£9.95

Il Faggio Montepulciano d Abruzzo 2018 (1x75cl)

Il Faggio is made by Alana McGettigan, at one of the region's best co-operatives in the northern part of the Abruzzi. The aim is to capture in the bottle the power and intensity of the grape, together with a lift and freshness which is seldom found in wine from this region. The name, Il Faggio, derives from the fabulous beech trees which proliferate in this area, especially in the Abruzzo national park.

The grapes for this wine were grown on the hills and flatter vineyards surrounding the town of San Salvo in Abruzzo.

The 2018 vintage saw relatively mild weather with optimal rainfall. As a result, the grapes are of excellent quality with good levels of sugar, tannin and colour.

Only the best quality grapes were chosen for this blend, from primarily hand-harvested fruit. At the winery the grapes were de-stemmed, crushed and pumped to stainless steel tanks where the must was innoculated with selected yeast strains and fermented for about 6 days at temperatures up to 34°C. Regular pump overs took place, more frequently during the first few days, to increase extraction which became less frequent towards the end of the fermentation process. After pressing, the wine was transferred to tank for malolactic fermentation to take place.

100% Montepulciano.

A deep ruby red in colour, with lifted notes of dark fruits, plums and cherries with a hint of mocha. This wine has soft, ripe tannins and a delicious chocolate-cherry finish.

ABV = 13.0%.

£9.15

Palladino Rosso Riserva, DOC Biferno 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2012 vintage was Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in August 2017 (see blue link below).

Palladino Rosso Riserva, DOC Biferno 2012 - 2017 Decanter review

Molise is located in the southern part of Central Italy. Only 2% of its production is graded as DOC. Hillside vineyards with excellent exposure, morainic and calcareous soils together with a combination of maritime and continental climate provide a favorable terroir for the cultivation of vines. The 15 to 25 year old vines are trained in the Sylvoz and Spur Cordon fashion, with 2800 to 3300 vines planted per hectare, yields are around 110 hl/ha. Grapes were hand and machine harvested in late September.

Made from equal thirds of Aglianico, Montepulciano and Trebbiano. Traditional vinification with 10-12 days of maceration at a controlled temperature of 25°-26°C. The wine is aged for 18 months in large oak barrels, and the for 18 months in stainless steel tanks.

Purply red colour that will develop to garnet with age. The bouquet is complex and intense with hints of blackberry jam. On the palate the wine is velvety and harmonious with pleasant, firm tannins.

The wine pairs well with roast meats, game, pheasant or salami. Serve at 18-20° (ie really quite warm!)

ABV = 13.0%.

£8.75

Peter Lehmann Wildcard Shiraz Cabernet 2018 (1x 75cl)

The Wildcard wines are named after Sky Masterson, the gambler hero of the musical Guys & Dolls. Peter Lehmann Wines was originally named Masterson Wines between 1977 and 1981, as it was the biggest gamble ever taken by Peter Lehmann and the growers. The wines are soft and forward and easy drinking but still bear the hallmark quality of head winemaker Nigel Westblade and his team. “We buy grapes, not bulk wine, as we can make a much better wine that way,” he says.

Peter Lehmann Wines has established a close partnership with growers across South Australia, enabling the production of a rich and vibrant wine with strong varietal definition.

The fruit was fermented on skins for five to seven days with frequent pumpovers, prior to pressing. After clarification, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in tank. It was then transferred to oak for four to six months to build complexity and texture without compromising fruit intensity, and was bottled young, under screwcap, to retain freshness.

80% Syrah/Shiraz , 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.

This wine is vibrant red with a dark purple hue. It has rich aromas of plum, blackcurrant and raspberry on the nose. A uniquely Australian blend, the Shiraz provides layers of ripe plum and mocha that integrate seamlessly with mint and blackcurrant flavours from the Cabernet Sauvignon. The resulting wine is the perfect balance of fruity, savoury and spice characters.

£8.90

Quinta Da Plansel Plansel Selecta Red 2018 (1x75cl)

Dorina Lindemann, one of the most well-known female oenologists in Portugal, has developed her wines of distinctive character at her 65-hectare Quinta da Plansel wine estate. While Portuguese wines are much known for their blending, Quinta da Plansel focuses primarily on monovarietal wines. Doing so allows the true potential of the grape to be revealed, as is the case with the Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Barroca, often used individually to produce their top wines.

Here, in Montemor-o-Novo, in the Evora sub-region of the Alentejo, a unique microclimate provides excellent conditions for pithy terroir wines. Soils are residual granite and metamorphic sedimentary. Plenty of sun, low rainfall, and the large differences between maximum and minimum temperatures ('diurnal range') combine to produce the climatic conditions required for fine, aromatic grapes which are harvested only when mature. Competent work in the vineyard and the cellar, and a love of precise attention to detail result in some very special wines indeed. 

This wine is 50% Touriga Nacional, 40% Aragonez (Tempranillo) and 10% Trincadeira.

Strict reduction of grape yield at 35 hectoliters per hectare and at 5°C natural sedimentation. Maceration in rotofermenters and open stainless steel vats at 25°C. Maturation for 3 months in stainless steel tanks.

This wine presents itself intensively purple red, is powerfully structured and aromas of dark fruits, seasonings and orange blossom. On the palate is it complex, and fruity with a slightly herb note.

ABV = 14.5%.

£9.95

Red Rock Shiraz 2017 (1x75cl)

At Red Rock they believe that there are as many hidden depths to Uluru as the amount hard work done unobtrusively by the vines in their effort to produce good quality grapes. These include spreading their roots underground in order to find water and nutrients in the soil. We often overlook the effort that the vines go through to produce a wine that is enjoyable and everyhting that you would hope for. 

This is a modern take on Australian wine, concentrating on elegance and freshness. Red Rock shows new wave Australian winemaking at its best. This medium bodied Shiraz has lucious aromas of dark red fruit with just a hint of spice. This is a wine that is equally happy when matched with food or as a drink to enjoy with friends.

ABV = 14.0%.

£8.25

Red Rock Shiraz 2018 (1x75cl)

At Red Rock they believe that there are as many hidden depths to Uluru as the amount hard work done unobtrusively by the vines in their effort to produce good quality grapes. These include spreading their roots underground in order to find water and nutrients in the soil. We often overlook the effort that the vines go through to produce a wine that is enjoyable and everyhting that you would hope for. 

This is a modern take on Australian wine, concentrating on elegance and freshness. Red Rock shows new wave Australian winemaking at its best. This medium bodied Shiraz has lucious aromas of dark red fruit with just a hint of spice. This is a wine that is equally happy when matched with food or as a drink to enjoy with friends.

ABV = 13.5%.

£8.25

Tor Del Colle Rosso Molise DOC Riserva 2013 (1x 75cl)

They say that a good wine needs time to reveal its qualities, but it also needs dedication and constant commitment. Few products can embody so much expertise and thousands of years of history as those made by Botter. It has passed through the careful hands of three generations for whom wine was a passion as well as a trade. They have responded to the constantly evolving market over time, in a process of ongoing expansion. The Tor Del Colle brand is part of the Botter stable.

To see a comprehensive tasting note for this wine, please click the blue link below.

Tor Del Colle Molise Rosso Riserva - fiche technique

£9.20

Villa Dei Fiori Primitivo 2017 (1x 75cl)

The wines of Villa dei Fiori are created to express a specifically Italian style.

Using native Italian varieties, the winemakers work diligently to create a wine that expresses everything people love about the true Italian character - Purity of fruit, earthy, rustic tones and fantastic acidity, making them the perfect partner for food.

100% Primitivo.

Typical of Primitivo, this wine has a rich, deep colour with enticing aromas of ripe red berry fruit, liquorice and a hint of tar. It is full bodied with a gorgeous fruity finish, warm spices and powerful but perfectly balanced tannins.

£8.15
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